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Abstract

Recent studies using apparent consumption data have identified changes in relative prices, incomes and advertising levels as the primary factors underlying the observed decline in demand for red meat during the period 1964-84. In those studies, beef and veal, lamb chicken and pork were treated as homogeneous goods with single prices. Additional information can be obtained if each of these meats is treated as a heterogeneous aggregate of commodities. Cuts of beef, veal and lamb were grouped into a set of broad price categories. Changes that have occurred in quality and quantity choice within these categories were analysed, and factors affecting these choices were identified. For each category, cross-sectional elasticities were calculated for quantity demand with respect to own price and for quality and quantity with respect to income. In addition, detailed information was obtained on the effect of demographic factors on the demand for each of these categories of meat. It was found that changes in prices, and to a minor extent demographic factors, have contributed to the decline in consumption, and that consumers have altered their quality choices among the different groupings of meat cuts over the period. It cannot be concluded, however, that consumers have traded off quality against quantity over the period.

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